Remember that nothing has to be set in stone. If a part of your schedule doesn’t work, change it to suit your family’s needs. Setting routines is supposed to alleviate stress… not add more.

Are You Teaching to Your Child’s Learning Style?

If you haven’t discovered your child’s learning style, now would be a good time to work on it. [Editor’s note: See the series “What is My Child’s Learning Style” by Melissa Pinkley, published in the July/Aug ’06 – Mar/Apr ’07 issues of Home School Enrichment Magazine.] Discovering your child’s learning style and then teaching in such a way as to maximize his or her learning potential can be a great way to alleviate stress.

If you already are familiar with the subject of learning styles and have discovered your children’s styles, are you helping to find ways to learn based on this knowledge? It could be that you don’t realize that you are teaching a different learning language to your children.

I remember teaching about the French and Indian War to my sons. Being an auditory learner myself, I went into a great discussion about famous people and events. One of my sons had a great time and joined in the conversation. He, of course, is also an auditory learner. My other son looked as if he were a million miles away on another planet. This son is a visual learner. While evaluating my day, I realized that I did not engage my son because his learning style was not used.

The next day I pulled out a large pad of paper and had my sons draw maps of the region. Then, with each fort discussed, my sons would locate and mark that fort on the map. This worked beautifully! Both boys had a great time and learned. I have found that a lot of children find learning a lot more interesting and understandable when they are taught according to their learning style.

Are You Allowing Too Many Interruptions?

If the phone rings, do you answer it? Is the TV on during school? Are you trying to get other things done while you are homeschooling? It is extremely difficult to do other things while school is in session and have success. I know that it is hard not to pick up the phone when it rings. I still fall prey to that enticing ring at times. Some homeschool families have a “no phone, no TV, no visitors during school” rule.

Of course, there are times when emergencies occur and the day has to be a little mixed up. I encourage you on normal days, however, to keep the priority on school. This will actually help school move more quickly and effectively, giving you time later for other things.

Are You Prepared?

Do you know what schoolwork is being done this week? If your children are studying a subject in science, have you read a little about it? Now, I am definitely not saying that you should be prepared for every question that comes from their lips. What I am saying is that you should be prepared for most of the questions. If all you can do is read ahead a chapter in the book your child is reading, then that little bit will help. If your child finds that you know very few answers to her questions, then she might stop asking. Admit your ignorance when you don’t know, but don’t stop there! Help your child find the answer. You will be learning together. It can be a lot of fun!

At regular intervals, I evaluate the learning process that goes on in my home. I tweak schedules and try to cut out bad habits periodically. Children change and so do their needs. My fourth grader does a lot more by himself than my kindergartner, so my schedule reflects that. As homeschool parents, we are learning alongside our children. If we refuse to learn and adjust, our children may be just as stubborn with their learning.

Remember that the relationships of homeschooling matter a great deal. We are privileged to teach our children subjects such as math, reading, history and science, yet we teach them much more about life by our attitudes, actions, and responses. I hope you have a blessed homeschool experience and that your family will be drawn together by the life you share! 

Melissa Pinkley enjoys life with her husband, Wes. They learn a lot from their four children: Ben, Micah, Levi and Abigail. Homeschooling goes on 24/7 for the whole Pinkley family. They have been homeschooling for 6 years.  The Lord is gracious and continues to help them follow Him.
This article was originally published in the Jan/Feb ’08 issue of Home School Enrichment Magazine. For more information, visit http://HomeSchoolEnrichment.com